Saturday-Sunday, March 8-9, noon-6pm
Austin Convention Center, first floor
This two-day event hooks the public up with developers, gaming pros, and exhibitors like Austin Green Art, DeVry University, GameCamp!, Glitch Gaming Apparel, and Wikia and offers plenty of ways to win some sweet gear. Throw in some big-screen TVs, game demos, and professional tournaments, and tears of joy fall from gamers' eyes. Best of all, it's free and open to the public. – Eric Sebesta
Come to Play
The world-famous hard-drive company Seagate will be hosting professional gaming team the Frag Dolls. The all-girl gaming team will be challenging the public to live tournaments, so bring your A-game, or prepare to be humiliated. Prizes await those who don't make complete fools of themselves.
If professional tournaments are more your speed, you can watch the Championship Gaming Series qualifying tournament, where some of the world's best gamers will compete for spots in the league's prestigious teams. Players will be squaring off in Dead or Alive 4, Forza Motorsport 2, Counter-Strike: Source, and FIFA 08, so no matter your gaming tastes, there should be great matches to watch.
Probably most famous for the über-geek card game Magic: The Gathering, Wizards of the Coast will also be showing off their newest video-game offerings. But bring a Magic deck, if that's your thing, too.
Austin's own maverick game publisher Gamecock will attend, and likely offend. Chill out and play around with the first batch of games to burst from their demented minds, including Insecticide and Dementium: The Ward.
Come to (Maybe One Day) Work
Want to make games? Austin has a vibrant games industry, and ScreenBurn can hook you up with a number of ways to get started on that path. Stop by the Austin Community College booth, and learn about their Video Game Development program, which features courses taught by leaders in the Austin game industry. The Computer Science Technology department of Texas State Technical College Waco will be demonstrating various student projects and answering questions about their various gaming-focused programs.
The International Game Developers Association represents Austin's game creators, and it's the best place to go if you just want to know what life in the industry is like. Their war stories might amuse, inspire, or just horrify you.